Century at Stanford

November/December 2002

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100 Years Ago (1902)

University officials ordered the demolition of the old ramshackle construction barracks known as the Camp. Located on the site of today’s Old Union, the Camp provided a low-cost housing alternative for male students, quickly developing an aura of poverty but also a reputation for residents’ scholarly and literary achievements.

In an address to the Board of Trustees, Jane Stanford confirmed the board’s authority to charge tuition and authorized trustees to sell all Stanford-owned property except the Palo Alto Farm and her San Francisco Nob Hill residence. She also called for regulations governing the appointment and removal of faculty and said that the University and its faculty should refrain from partisan political activities.

75 Years Ago (1927)

Stanford Stadium gained 16,500 new seats, for a total capacity of about 87,000, when workers built an arcade-style superstructure of bleachers around its rim. Architect John K. Branner, son of Stanford’s second president, designed the bleachers to complement the Quad arcades.

50 Years Ago (1952)

Felix Bloch became Stanford’s first Nobel laureate when he was named co-winner of the physics prize for his work on nuclear magnetic resonance. He discovered that when atoms are exposed to a strong magnetic field, they absorb certain radio-wave frequencies and their cores resonate. The discovery led to magnetic resonance imaging, widely used in medicine today.

Jessie Knight Jordan, widow of the University’s first president, David Starr Jordan, died at 86. A campus resident for 61 years, she had been her husband’s chief literary critic and editor. “Miss Jessie” set the pattern of informality between early faculty and students with her Thursday evening “at-homes.”

25 Years Ago (1977)

Reversing its 1944 ban on sororities, the trustees approved the concept of “subjectively selected” women’s organizations on the condition that groups maintain local control over membership and meet University policies against discrimination. Four years later, Delta Gamma became Stanford’s first officially recognized sorority in 37 years.

Former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme, first recipient of the Law School’s Jackson H. Ralston Prize in International Law, delivered campus lectures in conjunction with the $15,000 prize. Opal Ralston established the award in memory of her husband, a prominent U.S. international lawyer, teacher and judge.

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A dedication was held for the $9.2 million engineering center named in honor of Frederick Emmons Terman, retired vice president and provost and former dean of engineering. Gifts from two of Terman’s former students and their wives—William and Flora Hewlett and David and Lucile Packard—made the center possible. Nearly 40 years earlier, Terman, ’20, Engr. ’22, had encouraged the two recent graduates to start their own electronics company. He is credited with establishing Silicon Valley as one of the world’s leading technology centers.

Karen Bartholomew, ’71, writes this column on behalf of the Stanford Historical Society.

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